Deciding Between Laminate vs. Engineered Hardwood Floors

March 31, 2017

Choosing a type of flooring is never as simple as it seems. With the variety of options out there, how are you to know what is the best for your home? While there are a plethora of floors you could choose from, you might take the time to consider what laminate and hardwood floors have to offer. While similar, they have a lot of differences that make them two drastically different floors for you to choose between. Sure, there are other options, but both of these are quality. So, if you’re interested in which floor wins out, keep reading.

What To Compare And Contrast When Choosing Between Laminate and Engineered

Quality

Laminate vs. engineered hardwood flooring in regards to quality is an important thing to consider. Neither option is necessarily ‘high end,’ but they both get the job done in a manner of speaking. However, laminate floor is merely fiberboard that has an image that resembles wood fused together. Realistically, if you have a home that is high end and you choose laminate, you will bring down the home’s value a bit. Engineered wood on the other hand, while not as great as real hardwood, appears to be much better in that aspect. It does actually have a strip of natural wood that is displayed on the top, while the rest is different types of plywood. This still isn’t the best option, but it is much higher quality than laminate.

Cost

Not surprisingly, laminate costs significantly less than engineered hardwood. If you have a tight budget, you might be drawn to the low cost of it. Engineered hardwood is significantly more expensive, almost as expensive as regular hardwood. Now, the quality is better with engineered hardwood, so in a sense you get what you pay for with both options. But again, if your budget is tight, laminate appears to be the better option.

Resale Value

Now, this may not seem important, but sometimes you have to think in futuristic terms when you are investing in your home. Laminate has a decent resale value, and more homes are starting to install premium versions of laminate, but overall its resale value is not the greatest. However, engineered hardwood has a fantastic resale value. Recently engineered hardwood has increased in its stature, but it’s still not to the level of actual hardwood flooring.

Installation

Surprising laminate is incredibly easy to install. To install this type of floor all you have to do is fold the pieces and lock them into place with each other. It’s incredibly simple to complete a laminate floor in a day. Installing engineered hardwood is a bit more challenging as it involves staples and gluing the pieces to a sub-floor. However, there is always the option of purchasing an engineered floor that is considered floating, making the installation process much simpler.

Resistance to Moisture

Moisture resistance in one of the few things that these two floor have in common. If laminate is properly installed so that no seam can be exposed, it is quite water resistant. But if it’s not installed well enough, it can be easy for water to get in causing damage in your floor, meaning you would have to rip it up and start again. Engineered hardwood is similar in that it has stable layers that stand up better to moisture than real hardwood floors.

Refinishing

Because laminate contains no real wood, you are unable to refinish the floor at all. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem, but it means the floor will likely have to be replaced more often. Engineered hardwood flooring can be refinished only a few times because there is only a thin layer of that specific wood. If you refinish it too many time you will wear off the veneer.

While both floors have their advantages and disadvantages, when it comes down to laminate vs. engineered hardwood, the engineered flooring clearly wins. While it is more expensive than laminate, it will last longer and bring a high quality look to your home.

Now, you may still want to choose laminate, and that’s fine, but choosing engineered hardwood means you are choosing a floor that looks and feels much more similar to a real hardwood flooring. It has a better quality, resale value, resistant to moisture and durability than laminate, making it a better long term choice for your home. Laminate may cost you less initially, but you will have to replace it more often.

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